Whether you were there or not all the way back in 1994 when System Shock originally released on PC, the notion that it’s being remade for contemporary audiences by remake specialists Nightdive Studio should fill both sides of that particular aisle with glee. A full-throated remake of the genre defining effort that arguably served as the inspiration for the BioShock games, System Shock is a survival horror first-person shooter that comes kicking and screaming into 2023 with an array of modern improvements, nips and tucks to bolster its appeal to stalwarts and newcomers alike. Here’s what to expect from the System Shock remake.
Improved Visuals For Modern Gaming Platforms
Entirely remade in Unreal Engine 4, the System Shock remake takes the retro futuristic design that the 1994 original was known for and thoroughly updates it for modern audiences on contemporary gaming platforms. Boasting display resolutions up to a razor sharp 4K, all new high definition textures and entirely reworked lighting and shadow effects, this remake allows an all-new audience to experience the frequently terrifying survival horror spectacle of System Shock nearly thirty years after its original release. Interestingly, this will be the first time that System Shock will be experienced on platforms outside of the PC space too, as the System Shock remake is set to enjoy a release on PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series S/X consoles.
A Completely Reworked Audio Presentation
From an audiovisual presentation perspective, Nightdive Studios have gone far above and beyond just re-issuing the original game with higher resolution textures and higher quality sound. In addition to completely overhauled visuals, the System Shock remake not only boasts a range of all-new sound effects to accompany your mutant cyborg smashing activities with an entirely new soundtrack to boot, but so too has the voice of SHODAN, Terri Brosius, has also returned to re-record all new dialogue for the role.
An Overhauled Interface For A New Generation Of Gamers
With mouse and keyboard control simply not a possibility for the console gamers that will experience System Shock for the first time, the System Shock remake implements an entirely revamped user interface that functions equally well regardless of the method of control available to the player. With improved aiming and traversal controls, together with a reworked inventory system that makes picking up, swapping out and dropping items and resources a cinch, the System Shock remake goes the extra mile beyond just aesthetic improvements to rework an iconic survival horror shooter for an all-new generation of gamers.
A Twisted Cyberpunk Tale Unfolding In The Vacuum Of Space
Set on the Earth orbiting Citadel space station in 2072, System Shock casts players as a nameless hacker that awakens on said space station only to find out that the SHODAN AI controlling the facility has lost the plot, murdered much of the crew, mutated those that did survive and enslaved every single machine on the station. Depicting a perilous race against time, System Shock tasks players with not only escaping the crumbling spacebound facility, but also with shutting down the rogue SHODAN AI in order to prevent its spread onto Earth and beyond. A hyper violent, cyberpunk first-person shooter with plenty of twists and turns, System Shock still offers up one of the most compelling settings in video games, even today.
One Of The Best Villains Ever In Video Games
Arguably serving as the lynchpin of System Shock’s narrative, SHODAN is the rogue artificial intelligence that serves as the main protagonist. Suffering from an extreme case of epic narcissism and an unquenchable hatred for humanity, SHODAN is in many ways the perfect video game villain: taunting the player from the beginning of the game, throughout and right up until the credits roll. A constant, unsettling presence from which every word manifests as an audibly twisted and garbled response, SHODAN is terrifying not just because of its overtly murderous nature but mainly because how like any AI worth its salt, SHODAN essentially acts as a mirror to the morally bankrupt folks that created it.
How Does The System Shock Remake Play?
System Shock has long been cited as the spiritual predecessor to the BioShock games with very good reason. In all three BioShock games a similar design throughline can be seen as players bludgeon and blast their way through an evocatively crafted dystopia, killing murderous foes with freewheeling creativity, scooping up upgrade materials and uncovering audio/video diaries that serve to further contribute to the world building at hand.
Much like the BioShock games then, the System Shock remake affords players a similar degree of creative latitude in their endeavours. Enemies can be smashed to death with wrenches, blown apart with firearms or seared to a crisp with laser rifles – how you go about murdering the various insane mutant denizens of Citadel Station is up to you. Equally, Citadel Station itself is huge and begs to be explored, providing wannabe hackers with all manner of corridors, crew quarters, vents, tunnels, secret rooms and more to be uncovered as players climb, leap, sneak and blast their way through its crumbling interior. Ironically, calling the System Shock remake ‘BioShock in space’ really isn’t that much of a reach.
An Odyssey That Bleeds From The Real World Into Cyberspace
Though you’ll spend the majority of your time stalking the ruined hallways and blood splattered crew quarters of Citadel Station, laying waste to cyborgs, mutants and a range of mechanical foes, you can also take the fight to SHODAN by entering cyberspace. Much more than just a gimmick, entering cyberspace in System Shock essentially removes the player from their physical form, allowing them a full 360 degrees of movement through an abstract digital world where they can destroy enemy viruses and undermine SHODAN at large. Speaking of which, the cyberspace sections of System Shock also dovetail neatly into the puzzle solving side of things too, since locked doors can be opened and other functions on Citadel Station can be engaged exclusively from within cyberspace, not only permitting further progress into the station itself but also providing access to secret areas stuffed with supplies and other such precious weapon upgrades.